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University of Utah Health Care's James Turnbull Named CIO of the Year

Jan 07, 2013

James Turnbull


Author: Kathy Wilets

James Turnbull, chief information officer of University of Utah Hospitals and clinics, has been named 2012 John E. Gall, Jr. CIO of the year.Turnbull will receive the award at the 2013 Annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in New Orleans on March 5, 2013.

The award, sponsored by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and HIMSS, recognizes healthcare IT executives who have made significant contributions to their organization and demonstrated innovative leadership through effective use of technology.

“This national award recognizes what we’ve always known, that Jim Turnbull is a leader in health care IT,” says David Entwistle, CEO of University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics.

The boards of directors for both CHIME and HIMSS annually select the recipient of the award, which is named in honor of the late John E. Gall Jr., who pioneered implementation of the first fully integrated medical information system in the world at California's El Camino Hospital in the 1960s.

“John Gall would no doubt be impressed with the great work that is being done by today’s CIOs, in partnership with their staff and vendor partners, to address the healthcare challenges of our nation,” says Turnbull. “While just one person has the humbling experience of accepting this award, it is truly a tribute to the commitment and dedication of all who are leveraging technology and process change to drive out costs, support research, and improve outcomes for our patients and communities.”

Turnbull’s distinguished career in the healthcare industry spans more than 37 years, split between the Canadian and American health systems. His accomplishments include the deployment of electronic medical records and installation of CPOE at three different health systems with three different vendor products.

Before joining University of Utah Health Care (UUHC) in 2008, Turnbull served as Senior Vice President and CIO at The Children’s Hospital in Denver from 2000-2007, and Senior Vice President and CIO at Sarasota Memorial Hospital from 1993-2000.

“Over the past three decades it has been amazing to watch the transition from paper to a digital world in the health care industry,” said Turnbull. “Today, it is equally exciting to see information management take center stage as we reshape our industry in response to consumer expectations, clinical innovation and health reform.”

Under Turnbull’s leadership, both UUHC and The Children’s Hospital in Denver received Most Wired honors by Health Forum and H&HN magazine. Children’s was also recognized for its advancement of EMRs by KLAS as the Most Integrated Children’s Hospital in 2007. Additionally, Turnbull is the 1996 and 1998 recipient of Computerworld magazine’s Smithsonian Award.

Turnbull is a former Chair of the CHIME Board of Trustees and a Fellow and former president of HIMSS. He is a lifetime honorary member of HIMSS and has been a CHIME member since 1993. His academic background includes a BA in Organizational Psychology, an MBA from the University of Western Ontario, and a DHA from the Medical University of South Carolina.

“It is always an honor for HIMSS to recognize one of our members who has provided his leadership and expertise to the Society and the healthcare industry. Jim Turnbull fits this description. He served as the HIMSS Board Chair in 1988, with new members from information systems and telecommunications, and more than a 50 percent growth in exhibitors at the annual conference that year. Congratulations to Jim for his ongoing contributions to improve healthcare delivery with the best use of health IT and management systems,” said H. Stephen Lieber, CAE, HIMSS President/CEO.

“As the industry’s highest honor, no one is more deserving of this award than Jim. His long-standing career as a healthcare CIO is both exemplary and distinguished, and his record of progressive IT utilization will be valued far into the future,” said CHIME President and CEO Richard Correll. “Following his service as Chair of HIMSS, he went on to lead CHIME, providing superior leadership at a time when the organization was moving through stages of rapid growth. Jim’s personable, thoughtful style, combined with his commitment to supporting the effectiveness of HIT, characterizes what a great CIO he is. I am delighted that we are recognizing his outstanding contributions to the field with this prestigious award."